What Is Peridex Used For
This medication is used along with regular tooth brushing/flossing to treat gingivitis, a gum disease that causes red, swollen, and easily bleeding gums. Chlorhexidine belongs to a class of drugs known as antimicrobials.
Peridex is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug for the treatment of gingivitis, a condition in which bacteria can cause inflammation of your gums. It’s also used to treat other types of infections like those in the mouth and throat area, such as tonsillitis or pharyngitis. If you have a problem with plaque buildup on your teeth or tongue, this medication may be able to help.
Gingivitis happens when there are too many bacteria living around your teeth and under your gum line. Plaque is a sticky film of mucus, food particles, skin cells, and bacteria that forms on our teeth. When plaque hardens into tartar — a substance made up of calcium and proteins from dead tissue cells — it can build up beneath the gum line and create cavities between your teeth. The longer these areas remain unaddressed, the deeper they become, until eventually causing painful sores and even more serious damage to the gums.
Plaque is not just disgusting; it can actually be dangerous if left untreated, because it can lead to periodontal diseases like gingivitis. Bacteria in plaque produce toxins that attack the soft tissues surrounding your teeth and can even affect the immune system’s ability to fight infection. Left unchecked, plaque can destroy the bone and connective tissue that helps hold your teeth in place and can eventually cause tooth loss.
Peridex, a topical antiseptic available without a prescription, kills bacteria by preventing them from forming on your teeth. This antiplaque agent works by killing bacteria rather than removing their germs through washing alone. Because of its effectiveness at attacking and killing bacteria, Peridex has been shown to reduce the occurrence of several oral conditions including gingivitis.
The active ingredient in Peridex is chlorhexidine gluconate, which contains a chemical compound called chlorhexidine digluconate. Its primary purpose is to kill bacteria that cause plaque formation and gum irritation. But how does it work? As with most medications, it depends on what makes it effective at treating certain ailments. In this case, it works to prevent bacteria from growing where it doesn’t belong.
When you use any type of medicine, you should know about possible side effects. Fortunately, peridex seems relatively safe. You’ll want to talk to your doctor before taking it, though, especially if you’re pregnant, nursing, elderly, or already using another form of antibiotic.
Keep reading to learn how this medication works.
Toothbrushes and floss provide some of the best ways to keep plaque away from your pearly whites. Brushing and flossing regularly will remove bacteria from your teeth and prevent plaque from building up. A dentist can also perform professional cleanings that can remove plaque from your teeth.
How Does Peridex Work?
Chlorhexidine gluconate is a broad-spectrum antibacterial agent that was discovered in 1949 by scientists who were trying to find new compounds to aid in fighting the bacteria behind tuberculosis. They found an organic derivative of chlorhexidine that was effective against both tubercle bacilli and Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, one common cause of skin infections.
Over time, researchers refined the formula to create a stronger version of the original compound. By 1965, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of chlorhexidine gluconate as a disinfectant to prevent bacterial growth in hospitals, schools, and public restrooms. Since then, it has come to play a major role in the field of dentistry.
It’s important to note that while the FDA approves OTC medicines like peridex, the agency does not typically test these products themselves. Instead, manufacturers must submit clinical data collected from studies run by dental professionals. These studies can range from small trials involving only a few patients to large, long-term tests conducted by universities and research centers.
Once the manufacturer submits all of the required information, the FDA decides whether the product qualifies for approval. Products are considered “new” if no similar product exists. New drugs require two years’ worth of safety testing before going on sale. And once a drug gets the green light, manufacturers still need to perform premarket surveillance studies to monitor the benefits and risks associated with their product.
If the FDA determines that a new drug meets the standards set forth by the agency, they issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). After receiving comments from interested parties, the agency reviews the proposed rules and issues final guidelines. Once the guidelines are finalized, companies can begin marketing their product.
Now let’s look at how exactly Peridex fights plaque.
Your gums naturally contain bacteria that live among the layers of mucous, but when plaque builds up below the gum line, these bacteria multiply out of control and cause gingivitis. When bacteria enter the bloodstream through your gums, they travel throughout your body, where they can wreak havoc on your organs and systems. Gingivitis, however, can often be prevented if you practice good oral hygiene and take measures to avoid plaque.
How Does Peridex Fight Plaque?
As we mentioned earlier, chlorhexidine gluconate prevents plaque from forming by destroying bacteria. To understand how Peridex accomplishes this task, you first need to understand what bacteria do to promote plaque production.
Bacteria feed on sugars and starches, which are present in foods such as milk, bread, cheese, fruit, yogurt, ice cream, pudding, and candy. Your saliva contains enzymes that break down the sugar molecules in foods so the bacteria can feast on them. However, your saliva isn’t always enough to get rid of the sugars completely. That’s where bacteria come in.
In order for a bacteria to thrive, it needs to survive off of something. Sugar provides bacteria with their ideal fuel source, and without it, they would quickly die. So, instead of breaking down the sugars in your food, bacteria stick around and wait for food to come to them. When you eat, they latch onto carbohydrates and sugars on your teeth and tongue. Then, when you brush or chew, the bacteria stay attached to your teeth and begin producing acid. Acidic wastes give the bacteria nutrients, and the bacteria release lactic acid, which leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
But bacteria don’t just grow on your teeth — they can also develop inside your mouth. Inside the mouth, bacteria can cause a host of problems, such as cavities, bad breath, halitosis, or gum inflammation. Bacteria in the mouth attach to surfaces within your mouth, such as your tongue, cheek, or roof of your mouth.
Because the bacteria are hidden underneath the surface, it’s difficult for people to see them. However, when bacteria start multiplying below the gum line, they can irritate the gums. Gums feel tight, sore, tender, or sensitive when irritated by bacteria. Gum irritation can occur after eating spicy or acidic foods, or when you bite down on sweets. Irritated gums can bleed and swell, making it harder to brush and floss.
Fortunately, Peridex offers relief from these symptoms. One way it does this is by decreasing the amount of bacteria that gather on your teeth. Another benefit of Peridex is that it can be applied directly to the gums, allowing you to get right to the root of the problem. It can also act as a mouthwash, helping to wash away bacteria and reduce the risk of further irritation. Finally, Peridex kills bacteria, leaving your teeth free of foul odors.
Although Peridex is generally safe, you should consult your physician if you experience severe allergic reactions, muscle weakness, or breathing difficulties. Talk to your dentist about how to apply the medication properly, and remember to follow his or her instructions carefully. Be sure to read the label on each package thoroughly to make sure you know the proper dosage for yourself.
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